Meet The Berkeley Haas MBA Class Of 2025

Picture Berkeley, California. What sentiments come to mind?

Probably Inclusive, innovative, and international. Educated, eclectic, and expressive – and maybe a little eccentric too. Ground zero for the Free Speech Movement – and the birthplace of California Cuisine. It is the place for the ambitious and idealistic – the doers and difference-makers in every field from healthcare to energy.

Think students, bikes, and parks everywhere, a college town with cool summers and wet winters – never too hot and never cold. Every week, you’ll find some cultural or musical festival – and you’d be hard-pressed to sample all the great cuisine when you’re there. While the city comes with a “Berzerkley” moniker – a hotbed for hippies and radicals – locals would counter that they are ahead of the curve. By that, they mean conscious of bias and history, committed to service and social responsibility, and empathetic to those who follow their own identity.


That’s particularly true at the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, says Monica Shavers, a 2023 MBA graduate.

“It’s not uncommon to have deep philosophical conversations with my classmates about how we want to see the world change for the better, while also being active participants in the cycle of capitalism. I think it’s been a pretty phenomenal experience to get to be in these academic settings, challenging how things operate, and ideating around the nuances and impact of different business decisions, rather than taking in everything as it is and learning how to regurgitate past strategies.”

Indeed, UC-Berkeley ranks as America’s top undergraduate research institution. That means a wealth of resources, expertise, and opportunities for Haas MBAs. The larger university is already home to renowned institutes covering areas ranging from AI to Biotech to Outer Space. That doesn’t count Berkeley Skydeck, an accelerator that connects to technology entrepreneurs to a half million Berkeley graduates – and the Bay Area startup ecosystem as a whole. In many ways, Haas is the proverbial spoke of the wheel at UC-Berkeley. Danner Doud-Martin, head of Haas campus sustainability, notes in a 2023 P&Q interview that Haas “continues to be the place that the rest of the campus watches.” One reason: Haas MBAs are pushing advancements in areas that matter most. Even more, they represent the conscientiousness that reflects the best of Berkeley, says Jonathan Santoso, a first-MBA who earned his undergraduate chemical engineering degree at UC-Berkeley.

“The wealth of projects on campus is a reflection on the diverse range of our collective interests. You see groups of people working on social impact, sustainable financing, adopting cleantech, advancing gender equity at work, and so much more… We advocate for our community to strive to do the right thing; we work on projects to fix them; and we equip ourselves with the necessary skills to enable them.”

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Haas campus


“Inclusivity” is another word that Supriya Reddy associates with the Berkeley community. A member of the MBA Class of 2025, Reddy grew up in India before becoming a software engineer at Apple. Living in a country with a multitude of cultures and languages, she learned the value of creating “sense of belonging.” In this area, she says, Haas clearly lives up to its promise.

“Every school talks about culture and inclusion,” she writes, “but the significance Haas places on making every person feel acknowledged, welcomed, and valued is unmatched. From the essays to pre-MBA workshops to the core curriculum, the focal point has always been DEI. It’s the Haas story.”

Reddy’s classmate, Shefali Agrawal, applies a different term to her Berkeley backdrop: Welcoming. “The warmth, inclusion, and genuine care I have felt from members of the Haas community – from alumni to faculty, administrators to classmates – fosters a supportive environment where every member is valued and celebrated for who they are,” Agarwal explains. “I had a sense of this as an applicant, but as a first-year student, I feel it even more strongly. I relish being part of a community where everyone looks out for one another.”


Another association with Berkeley? Think location. Students can drive from Berkeley to San Francisco in under 30 minutes – though the school provides a public transit card. Tack on another 35 minutes and you’ll find yourself in Silicon Valley – the global hub for tech and venture capital. The state capitol is just 90 minutes up I-80, with flights to Seattle or Los Angeles lasting two hours tops. Such access – coupled with its visionary programming and impact-driven energy – is why Haas is often synonymous with innovation.

“From the cutting-edge design of Moffitt Library to its groundbreaking experiential learning initiatives, UC Berkeley is committed to technological advancement and trailblazing ideas,” observes Sabrina Tan, who also majored in business as a UC-Berkeley undergrad. “This dynamic and welcoming campus fosters an atmosphere that encourages students to fearlessly pioneer new frontiers in their respective fields with an innovative mindset.”

The geography doesn’t hurt, either. Katiza Mitrovic, a BCG consultant from Chile, points to Berkeley being “surrounded by hills, forests, and the sea.” The area features legendary surfing haunts like Half Moon Bay and Pacifica State Beach – with world-class skiing two hours away.  Such locales symbolize the Haas spirit – and the freedom that comes when MBAs open yourself to new ideas and experiences.

“For me, UC Berkeley represents the pleasure of choosing to defy the status quo and to question myself,” writes Mitrovic. “UC Berkeley represents the power of dreaming about new possibilities with people from all around the world. It provides constant exposure to novel ideas in an environment where you are surrounded by passionate people.”

That makes it one of the best times of their lives, adds Veronica Peltz, any Ivy-trained Merck engineer. “UC Berkeley offers a wide range of electives from world-class professors, fosters an environment that enables new friendships, encourages world travel experiences, supports students as they pursue their dream career, and is located in the Bay Area. Attending Haas is a really exciting time in my life.”




Haas School of Business. Photo Copyright Noah Berger / 2023.


Not surprisingly, Haas has attracted a diverse and purpose-driven class this summer – students who’ve enjoyed exciting times while shouldering major responsibilities. Just look at Shefali Agrawal, a University of Chicago grad who most recently worked as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State. Describing herself as an “environmentalist and amateur photographer,” Agarwal organized evacuation flights from Pakistan during the onset of COVID-19 for American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their families.

“I led a team of 50 volunteers from within my organization and worked closely with leadership and counterparts across the U.S. government to safely return over a thousand passengers to their homes,” Agarwal explains. “On flight days, our team worked check-in at the airport. I will never forget how moved I was to see hundreds of Americans assembled at the airport, eager to return home, all because of my team’s efforts.”

Remember that ‘hippie haven’ stereotype about Haas? Meet Peter Jorgensen, who jokes that his “CIA accomplishments are classified.” However, he divulges that his analysis involved “newsworthy policy matters” involving both civilian and military leadership. Since then, Jorgensen has moved from being Argo to Lorax.

“At Deloitte, I helped develop climate equity tools that state and local clients used to invest in historically marginalized communities. I also built a new system for staffing Sustainability and Climate initiatives, and led the first-ever assessment of the Bureau of Prisons’ mental health programming.”


Travis Bautista boasts an equally broad background. In college, he studied Marine Biology and worked for an ecology research lab and later worked in venture capital. In between, he served as a supply chain officer in the U.S. Navy.

“With a great team, I enjoyed jumping into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and turning the USS Henry M. Jackson and its logistics department into the top-performing nuclear ballistic submarine in the United States in 2021.”

Growing up, Jonathan Santoso suffered from asthma due to air pollution from nearby burning trash. The condition sparked his passion for sustainability.  Even more, it pushed him to conduct field research at UC-Berkeley’s Carbon Removal Lab as an undergrad – and launch a startup.

“With friends from various schools, I created a non-profit startup in ed-tech focused on building competent leaders who believe in the same mission of doing things that are beyond yourself,” he tells P&Q. “I rekindled my joy in mentoring other people and helping them grow. I feel a certain level of fulfillment as I see them volunteer to become mentors for the new generation.”

The Berkeley Haas courtyard


Santoso wasn’t alone in mixing an intent to serve with a zeal for entrepreneurship. At EAB – an education research and consulting firm – Kate Laughton started a college match pilot targeting underrepresented students. The program has swelled to serving 10,000 cities in 7 cities, with Laughton adding that the latest round has produced $800 million in scholarships. At an early-stage startup, Sabrina Tan built the firm’s marketing and business development teams from scratch. By the same token, Supriya Reddy – whose surname is Bagannagary – took a constructive approach to her name being continuously mispronounced. At Apple, she built a feature that includes correct name pronunciation and eventually added pronouns too.

“These pronouns can now be shared during meetings conducted through platforms like Zoom or WebEx. The overwhelmingly positive feedback I received reaffirmed the kind of impact I aspire to make through my work.”

That’s just the beginning! In the Peruvian capital markets, Renzo Viale Paiva opened up a new investment asset class. At Merck, Veronica Peltz led cross-functional teams, including ones involved in manufacturing vaccines that fought against various cancers. As a product manager at My Vodafone App (MVA), Kwamina Eyiah Arthur worked to boost store app ratings from 1.3 to 4.5 stars – all while boosting app purchases against more expensive contact points like brick-and-mortar visits and call center conversions.

“I felt honored to receive the Vodafone Hero award for my contributions, and MVA’s success was further recognized when it won the prestigious Digital Enabler of the Year award at the 10th edition of the Ghana Information Technology and Telecom Awards,” Arthur explains. “Additionally, my team’s dedication and accomplishments earned us the title of Digital Transformation team of the year during the 11th edition in 2021. This experience taught me the power of determination, collaboration, and embracing challenges head-on.”

Next Page: Interview with Wendy Guild, Assistant Dean of MBA Programs

Page 3: Profiles of 12 Members of the Class of 2025

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